Port Moresby Governor to consider offering settlement residents title

The National Central District has launched an urban development program, which is expected to run into the middle of next year. Governor of Port Moresby, Powes Parkop, said he will be looking to upgrade Port Moresby’s settlements and explore ways to offer residents title.

Governor Powes Parkop.

Parkop said one of his top priorities will be to ‘upgrade and convert’ the settlements.

‘I believe the settlements are an impediment to quality of life. They are an impediment to social cohesion. They are an impediment to liveability.’

Parkop rejects, however, getting rid of the settlements: ‘removing our people.’

He says ‘no country in the world has achieved that outcome, even strong states with strong laws, like China.’

Managed

Parkop wants the settlements managed better. ‘I think it is about time that we bring our people peacefully at least to another level. Think positively about what they and us can achieve together for a better future. So converting settlements is one of the priorities.

‘That means surveying all the land in which people are living, creating developments, offering them title.

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‘It is not going to be a freebie, of just giving them title. There will be a process in which we will be able to identify and work out when they will be given the title. Parkop added that the offer of title will be conditional on recipients making a contribution ‘so they can help us to build a future’.

‘Another priority is reducing or eliminating violence.’

He pointed to a future situation with shopping malls, banks, schools and restaurants.

‘This is part of the dream and vision. People are starting to gradually change and realise what is possible. We have set the goal—and we are going to prosecute it.’

Villagers

Port Moresby. Courtesy: DreamzMedia

Parkop said another ambition is to improve the road facilities, water, sewerage and lights ‘and all the basic things’ to the traditional villages within NCD.

‘The villages no longer have a role in the rural setting—they are here (in Port Moresby). We cannot freeze them in time.’

Another priority, said Parkop, is ‘reducing or eliminating violence and bringing greater peace and security to our city.’

‘The challenge for the future is to bring men into the equation.’

He said he is especially concerned about the treatment of women. ‘Just being a woman in our city and our country is risky. You get pickpocketed. Men don’t get pickpocketed. You get your phones stolen. Men don’t get their phones stolen.’

Parkop said hijacking is also on the increase. ‘We have to come up with a number of strategies that we are going to use to address the situation.

‘The challenge for the future is to bring men into the equation, get them to understand that this action is on you, who you are, and what you are. I also want to see Neighborhood Watch being studied again.’

‘It is almost like an adolescent stage for a city.’

Parkop also called for an upgrade of transport. ‘Public transport up to now has served our city well but it cannot be a transport system that we rely on into the future.’

Adolescent city

The NCD Urban Development project was launched on the October 26 and is expected to run until mid-2018. The population of Port Moresby has been rising at 4 per cent a year, and the total population is almost 500,000, putting pressure on the city structures.

The Executive Director of Atlas Urban, Paul Walter, said in 1980 the city had a population of 120,000. ‘It is really changing very quickly with a very rapid time frame.’

Walter said it is a ‘very young’ city. ‘It is almost like an adolescent stage for a city, the decisions that are made now, the structural and urban decisions, have very big consequences for generations to come.

‘Because it is so new, and so rapidly emerging, there is great opportunity to influence it very significantly in the planning processes.’

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